Friday, August 13, 2010

14th Amendment

Now some members of Congress are suggesting that in order to properly reform and control immigration to the United States we should repeal the 14th Amendment to the Constitution

Setting aside the facts that such a process could take years and cost millions of dollars, is this really good policy given the history and significance of this amendment to our history and subsequent national life?  This amendment has provided an objective, agreed upon standard for citizenship since it was ratified in 1868 in the difficult aftermath of a bloody civil war. 

It is hard to imagine just how such a process would work. 

I can envision a situation in which immigrants, even those with documentation, bearing children in the U. S. would in essence create an entire new underclass or "other-class."  Furthermore, the process would take away much of the strength and promise of immigrant populations for the future growth and stability of the nation. 

Repealing the basic standard of citizenship that has served us so well for so long seems a desperate attempt to avoid the heart of the matter when it comes to effective, comprehensive immigration reform. 

Read the amendment and tell me what you think.

Amendment 14 - Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868.

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Hear Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School discuss the 14th Amendment on The Takeway below:


Anonymous said...

I recently read Last Call, a very interesting and readable history of the 18th amendment, which instituted prohibition. The lesson learned for today is how a group of single issue zealots was able to cobble together a coalition and to throw money around to hijack the political system AND the constitution. I fear it could happen again with the current discussion on the 14th amendment.

Anonymous said...

The constitution has already been hijacked with all the social welfare programs.

Anonymous said...

The US is the only remaining country in the world that allows automatic citizenship to children born here of illegals. Several countries have, in recent years, reversed their position on this. Are you saying they are wrong?

Anonymous said...

Oh, why not change the 14th Amendment? It is a living, breathing document, after all.

Funny. Suddenly conservative.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, just the border issue. That's all.

And abortion. We can't leave out abortion. But that's all. Just controlling the border and restricting abortion. Nothing more.

Well, there's fiscal responsibility. Never spend more than you earn, you know. So I guess border control, abortion restriction and fiscal control. But nothing else. We will be satisfied with that.

Maybe foreign policy needs some attention, though. After all, serious enemies of the nation are threatening our allies like never before. You know NKorea and Iran. But after we reset that issue, that's all we'll be concerned about. That and abortion and overspending.

Come to think of it, this redistribution of wealth concept is a bit of a worry. Seems like we're paying people not to work. I don't like that. So that, plus the border, plus the budget, and foriegn policy. That's all. Other than these things I think we can all get along just fine.

Well, then there's a few small details that, taken together, become quite problemmatic. Let's see there's liberalization of drug laws, card stack, er check, (setting up the workplace to ensure unions get their way), meddling with the free market system by funding failed big business and undercutting small business growth, and ... Oh wait, I forgot a big one - socialist health care. Now this is a problem I can't avoid talking about. The govt. seems to want to run just about everything.

So, that's not too much. Right? What could single issue could merit a change to the constitution? Any issue involving a change to the constitution would be very difficult to get approved. So it would need to be quite important. Either that or it might be an issue emblematic of the frustrations the populace concerned over a few other things. I can't imagine what those things might be.

Anonymous said...

how interesting Anon 5:41. . .all of the things you so sarcastically list sent me to thinking about the 8 years before Mr. Obama. . .all could be said of Mr. Bush. Could it be that you just don't like Mr Obama. I'm wondering why that is? What do you think?

Anonymous said...

There is no need to amend the 14th Amendment, only a fight through the federal courts. Consider this excerpt from the 14th Amendment

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof , are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside...."

Illegal mothers giving birth in the U.S. are not subject to the jurisdiction thereof . Therefore it follows that their children are not entitled to citizenship.

Mr James, I just want to thank you and the other neighborhood organizers for all you do. Saul Alinsky must be looking up and beaming with pride.

Larry James said...

Anon 12:58, have you read anything Alinsky wrote?

Anonymous said...

August 14, 2010 8:44:00 AM

Read it again. I don't recall card check, govt. controlled healthcare, anti small business legislation, hypertaxing, or ruining our relationship with Israel under Bush. Some of those other things were initiated under Bush and now my voter registration card lists me as Independent. You might call being able to make a decision, which clearly 25% of voters can't seem to demonstrate. When is the last time you voted for anything without a "D" attached to its name?

You may have to be more clear about why you think I'm against Obama. I thought the list was pretty clear. But you seem to have a different take. I'd love to know what it is.

I'm sure your thoughts on the matter are original, creative, insightful. You'll dig deep, I'm sure - Olbermann deep.

rcorum said...

Some of you are hitting very low with Larry. I disagree with a good bit of what he says, but I am not sure the personal jabs are productive. Larry is a good man and a principled man. Having said that I wish I would see the time when Larry quoted from a scholar from the Heritage Foundation, but I am not holding my breath. To me the bottom line is that our country is full of very frustrated with our current administration and the sense that the immigration issue is now totally out of control. I for one do not believe that a change in the 14th amendment is even possible.

eirenetheou said...

It is ironic now to see someone evoke Saul Alinsky's name in connection with Larry James and his ministry.

Saul Alinsky often said that the way to organize a mass movement is to "rub resentments raw." Many "Christian" politicians and leaders of organizations in America now have been applying Alinsky's techniques -- most especially "rubbing resentments raw" -- with great material success, but i do not understand Larry to be one of them. Larry, as a disciple of Jesus, has been trying, in a hard place, to bring people together, to find common ground on which they can stand. Rather than ailenating people from one another, Larry is trying, with the help of God, to reconcile them to one another and, ultimately, to the God who is father of all.

i do not share Larry's confidence that the human political order can be persuaded to do God's work, but i admire his commitment to the task, his patience with the process, and his ability to get up every morning and do it again. It is hard labor, made harder by people who are determined to hold other people hostage to their resentments.

In this hellbent twenty-first century, no one of us can afford to hold others hostage to our resentments. Many things in our world trouble us, but we shall not resolve our difficulties by inflicting our pain on others. We should strive, rather, to become a party to solutions rather than remain a part of the problem.

God's Peace to you.